Swan Lake

Lake San Marcos Trumpeter Swans

Four new swans arrived at Lake San Marcos on Friday afternoon. Their arrival was bitter sweet. These swans were purchased as a living memorial to long time resident Ken Beall. Ken was a well loved man around Lake San Marcos and was the editor of our community newsletter, Quail Call.

These trumpeter swans, largest waterfowl in America, join the many other beautiful swans that call Lake San Marcos home.  These new swans, two pair, are easily distinguished from the other white swans on the lake by their black bills.

Last year one pair of the Lake’s black swans had 4 babies which quickly and amazingly grew to adult size.  We now have 8 beautiful black swans.  By the way, the black swans have red bills.

If you decide to feed the swans, please do not use bread.  There is a vending machine where you can buy food for 25 cents right near the marina.  This is not to raise money, but to protect the health of these magnificent animals.


Lake San Marcos Water Level Update

After the 1/2 inch rain that we received this weekend, thought I would measure the water level in Lake San Marcos again.  The lake was only down 9 inches at the most.  With the large run off basin feeding the lake, a .5 inch rain added almost a foot of water.

Water level in increasing with the last rain.

Bad new is that the first rain of the season is the worst for polluting the lake.  As it cleans the streets, trees, etc., it sends all this filth straight into the lake.  That is why the lake use to be 48 foot deep at the dam and is now only 26 foot deep.  Will be nice to get more rain soon and get some cleaner water into the lake.  When the lake actually starts flowing over the dam, it starts cleaning the debris off the surface and sending it on downstream.

See Lake San Marcos water level photo before the rain.

How Low is the Water Level in Lake San Marcos?

Blue Heron Lake San Marcos

Blue Heron sitting atop the dam at Lake San Marcos.

I took a picture of this blue heron today, Sunday, October 26, 2014, sitting on the dam of Lake San Marcos to put things in prospective. I also measured how low the water level was with a ruler. Answer, 20 inches. I just had to do this post since someone last week posted it was 5 feet down.

Lake San Marcos from the bridge south to Sunrise Point is only about 7 foot deep when totally full. It could never be down 5 foot. The mall coves are about 6 foot deep also. The aforementioned part of the lake is graded pretty much like a pie pan. “Very boring if you are a fisherman.” Going south from Sunrise Point to the picnic grounds, the depth increases gradually to about 14 feet. From the picnic grounds to the dam, it increases to about 26 feet. The original lake was about 48 feet before it became burdened with sediment.

Good news is that it will not take 20″ of rain to fill the lake. Because of the very large water shed area that runs into San Marcos Creek and then into the lake, just a few inches will send our lake over the spillway again as it does every winter.

Picnic Grounds Update

Picnic grounds pavilion should be ready by years end.

If you haven’t had a chance to walk down to the picnic grounds lately, I thought I would share my photo and what little info I have. As you come down the hill from Panorama you will see that the old narrow dirt road has been replaced with a much wider road. Large boulders have been added along the shoreline and a good looking stone retaining wall lines the west side of the road. This road has been widened at the County’s request to accommodate emergency vehicles. Residents and guest using the picnic grounds are still suppose to get to the picnic grounds by boat.

The new pavilion structure is very large and spacious. It is being built in a first class manner with lots of nice upgrades.  Originally, it was to have a tent canvas type of roof. That roof plan has been upgraded. If you remember the old picnic ground structure was cheap and in disrepair (see photo below).  The new picnic grounds structure is going to be special. The new structure is being wired for electricity and also has a large gas fireplace on the back wall. There has not been a decision made as to charcoal grills or gas grills.  I am told this new area should be ready about the end of the year. LLSM leases the picnic ground area from Varadero on a long term lease.

See more about the picnic grounds.

LLSM is doing many improvement projects at the same time.   See Lake San Marcos Boardwalk.  For the moment, glamping has been put on hold.

See photo of old picnic grounds below.

Photo by Gary Harmon

Photo by Gary Harmon

Public Dock Gone?

You may be wondering what happened to the public dock on the east side of the lake off La Plaza park.

Photo by Gary Harmon

Boat Ramp at La Plaza Park.


The public dock has been moved over a bit to the north to make way for a boat ramp.  This is a ramp for the use of LLSM (CDC). There will be a fence installed to control access.  The main boat ramp on the west side of the lake is being closed while a section of the new Boardwalk is being completed across the ramp area.

Lake San Marcos Boardwalk

If you go down by the Lake San Marcos marina, you can see that the new boardwalk is coming along nicely.

Lake San Marcos Boardwalk

Photo by Gary Harmon.

It appears that the boardwalk will have several seating areas and lighted steps.  It is my understanding that the boardwalk will go from the marina area through the new Quail’s restaurant and down to St Mark Golf Club.  The pathway north of the hotel has already been completed and is in constant use by the hotel guest.

The picnic grounds structure is also starting to take shape.  The road leading to the picnic grounds has been expanded to two lanes at the request of the fire department.  Construction and design at the picnic grounds appears to be first class.  Glamping is still on hold.

Paddle Boarding at Lake San Marcos

Paddle boarding is now allowed on Lake San Marcos.

Paddle boarding is now allowed at Lake San Marcos.


Pino Vitti, owner of CDC, now the Lodge at Lake San Marcos, announced last week at a community meeting that paddle boarding was now allowed in Lake San Marcos.  In fact, it is being encouraged.  Resident and members of Lake San Marcos may register their paddle boards at the office at 1105 Bonita Drive, right next to the Pavilion.  There is no cost to get a sticker for your boat.

The Lakehouse Hotel and Resort will rent paddle boats to guest for $15 an hour.  Many folks are starting to take advantage.

Lake security will check to make sure all paddle boards have the proper stickers.

The Lodge at Lake San Marcos

The CDC is currently undergoing a name change.  This week they were approved to do business as “The Lodge at Lake San Marcos.”   The name really makes “no sense” to me.  Seems like there will be a lot of confusion with The Lakehouse at Lake San Marcos and The Lodge at Lake San Marcos.   Also, I thought a “lodge” is somewhere you go to stay and spend the night.  No, in Lake San Marcos it is the Lakehouse.  See what I mean, confusing?

New docks by The Lodge at Lake San Marcos

Photo by Gary Harmon

Regardless of the new name, the CDC has done some good things for the Lake San Marcos and its residents.  Many more are planned for the future.

  • Kayak storage – In June, the Lodge opened kayak storage and was immediately filled to near capacity.  They then began work on an outdoor kayak storage facility.  You can call and make reservations at 760-500-5012.
  • Pools – They have refreshed both pools and hire a professional pool service to make sure everyone has a good recreational experience.
  • Rules and Regulations – Drafts were sent out for people to review and make comments.  I did.
  • Security – Electronic proximity  card locks on all of the gates leading onto the property at the Lodge.  Also, on the gates leading to the pool.  Locks are scheduled to be activated in August.  All of us lake (The Lodge at Lake San Marcos) members will have a new ID Card.

Looking forward to all the new improvements to the community at Lake San Marcos.  And the best news is that all of these changes are helping improve the values of our Lake San Marcos homes.  For more information about Lake San Marcos real estate, contact Gary Harmon.


Out of Bankruptcy – Reorganization Plan Approved

The following  news was shared with the “Friends of Lake San Marcos,” and I thought it was important to get the message out to the Lake San Marcos community.

“Today Lake San Marcos received some of the best news it has had in the last 10 years….CDC’s Reorganization Plan has been approved by the Federal Bankruptcy Court.

Initially, the depth and breadth of the problems facing CDC were so great, I was of the opinion they could not be solved.  Fortunately, in the middle of the bankruptcy CDC was sold to new ownership.  It has taken incredible fortitude, financial acumen, and negotiating skill for Pino Vitti, the new owner, to have overcome these hurdles.  Congratulations to him and his staff.  Today is really the start of a new era for CDC.

The Lake San Marcos Community Association has played a significant role in supporting the new ownership of CDC with the Bankruptcy Court, the Regional Water Board, the City of San Marcos, San Diego County, Vallecitos Water District, the Telesis Credit Union and numerous other organizations.

The net effect of the Reorganization Plan approval is that now CDC can start paying back its creditors, can borrow to make improvements in our facilities, and can again direct its financial resources as it chooses.

For the community, it means the years of delay are over, and we can hope to see long awaited improvements begin to take shape.

CDC still has many hurdles to overcome.  They have to finish the lake testing, develop a remediation plan, and actually get the lake cleaned up.  They have more docks to build. They have to prove to lenders that they are on a firm financial footing, and the income generated from the Lake and Lodge leases and other sources are reliable enough to underwrite long term loans for rebuilding the community facilities and cleaning the lake.  They have to develop a plan for remodeling or replacing our aging buildings and pools that meets the needs of the community while remaining affordable.  There are many challenges ahead for CDC, but now they can move forward to work on those new challenges without the stifling control of the Federal Bankruptcy Court.

Thanks to all who were involved in these efforts over the years.  In particular Eli Whitney, John Andrew, Bob Kreiss, Jim Murphy, and Ken Lounsbery, but also many, many others.

Wayne Widener

Friends of Lake San Marcos”

And I personally would like to thank “Wayne Widener” who works very hard to keep us all informed.

For more information see “Lake San Marcos Bankruptcy Update.”


Glamping – Lake San Marcos

Glamping is coming to Lake San Marcos courteous of the Lakehouse Resort.

What is glamping: It is shorthand for glamorous camping; luxury camping.  Going camping, but with glamour. A combination of the two words. It’s like regular camping , but with nicer things than usual, being warmer, and more comfortable.

Photo by Gary Harmon

Photo by Gary Harmon

The above photo is inside one of the four units currently under construction past the campgrounds at Lake San Marcos.  Access to this “Glamorous Camping” will only be by boat.  All units will have electricity and a ceiling fan.  Modern restroom and shower facilities will be nearby.

San Diego residents can get away for a great mountain – lake, outdoors experience without all the hassle and time wasted by a long drive.  Keep checking this website for updates.  Also, check out the photos below of the Lake San Marcos glamping site.

Photo by Gary Harmon

Photo by Gary Harmon

Photo by Gary Harmon

Photo by Gary Harmon


Photo by Gary Harmon

Photo by Gary Harmon